I woke up this morning and asked myself the following five questions:
· What am I thinking?
· How am I feeling?
· What am I feeling?
· How do I expect today to be?
· What can I do to take control today?
In a recent article I wrote about this new practice as a means to make the day — any day — mindfully connected. Now I am working to start every day with these questions.
There is one small problem with this. Sometimes I can’t readily find the answers.
As per my plan, I am asking these questions aloud. I can identify what I am thinking, what I expect today to be, and how to take control of my day.
What and how I am feeling, however, has been much more elusive.
This raises an important question. Why am I having such a hard time identifying what and how I am feeling?
Because of this, today my day has been partially derailed. I have had a very difficult time writing anything today because my feelings are so cloudy. So, I decided, the solution is to write it out.
What is going on in my head?
Honestly, I think the biggest issue is the world at large. The utter uncertainty, chaos, and fear dominating the collective consciousness are impossible to ignore.
The bigger issue, though, is not ignoring it. It’s lessening its impact. The best defense in this instance is to still be aware of the outside world — but control the feed. Dam the flow to slow it to a more manageable level.
Easier said than done, of course. The rabbit hole that is Facebook will take you down a dark and dreary lane before you even realize it.
Suddenly, you find yourself reading an in-depth article about what do to if Trump loses and refuses to yield his office. Next, you may find yourself reading about the ludicrous things numerous people are saying about the awful, backward-thinking woman the GOP wants to appoint to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court. Then, the number of people unable to comprehend the ongoing severity of COVID-19 is just infuriating.
I am a reasonable person. Further, I’m a fan of giving people the benefit of the doubt. But the utter contempt for truth and fact is surreal, disheartening, and confounding.
Hence, there is a lot of negativity. It is the dominant emotion within the collective consciousness right now. This is due to some people just lost and uncertain — while others are actively weaponizing the fear for their own gain.
Then, I think what’s most frustrating is that I can’t do jack shit about it. I cannot convince those who are utterly sure of their ludicrous, counterfactual opinions to see the facts and reason.
Resorting to an old habit
This is a lot of negativity to take in. Now double it — because I’m an empath. Thus, I am feeling all these emotions from other people like they are my own.
I cannot deny I’m scared. Yet I will not give energy to the fear and create the awful what-if scenarios I can conceive of.
No, I am not denying that they may need to be addressed. There is a very real possibility that some of the worst-case scenarios may come to pass. But I cannot analyze them, lament them, and focus on them. Giving them that power disempowers me.
Selfish? No. This is a matter of self-care. I already suffer from depression — focusing on this possibility and giving it energy will power my depression. The balance I have maintained for years between meditation, practicing mindfulness, and a low dose of an SSRI could be broken.
Hence, as I analyze why I am having trouble identifying what I am feeling and how I am feeling, the answer is plain.
I’ve shut it off again.
When I was six years old or so, following my parents’ divorce I was understandably traumatized. As a result, I turned off most of my ability to feel my own emotions. I knew what they would be and could tell that to my therapists. But how I was feeling tended to be numb. For the most part.
Fear, anger, jealousy, and negative emotions tended to be easier to feel.
I am so inundated presently with negativity — both my own and from without — that I have turned off my emotions.
It’s not the same as it was, however, Because — while I say I have sort-of turned them off, that’s not really what I’m doing.
Altering the balance
Mindfulness, on the surface, is made up of thought, feeling, action, and intent. These surface aspects help to understand and work with the depths. The depths are mindset/headspace/psyche and overall perception of reality.
Rather than turning my emotions off as I did in the past — I’m shunting them to the side. My mindful focus is more on my thought and action than my feelings. That’s subconscious — but not destructive like it was.
When I was disconnected from my feelings before, it kept me unbalanced. I never found satisfaction in my jobs, relationships, or homes because I was out of touch with what and how I was feeling. But because I didn’t see that my inner emotion was cut off like it was, I kept making attempts at all these outside things.
My inside life was a mess. My theme song, for years, was U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
That was my narrative. What do I want? I don’t know. What do I desire? I am uncertain? Who do I want to be? This is a work in progress.
But then, I met the best therapist I have ever had. Together, we uncovered this lack of knowing the how of my feeling — and delved into the depths of my subconscious to get to the root. That, in turn, allowed us to open me up to feel.
I was able to express not just the what of feeling, but the how. And that started me on a very different path.
Recently I listened to I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. It made me smile a little wistfully when it occurred to me that it no longer applies.
Not knowing how I am feeling now is a very different animal from how it was.
The power of intent
A lot of empaths I know talk about defenses.
They discuss putting up shields and walls to block, slow, and hold at bay other people’s emotions. But like any dam, with enough water and pressure, you could be overwhelmed by overflow or experience a burst.
My practice has been to allow all the emotion to run around and through me — but take none of that in. I am the mesh grate that water flows through and past.
With the vast level of negativity happening outside right now — I have been unable not to take it in. It’s not just water passing through the grate — it’s leaves and twigs. They will stick until the flow pushes them past. But the build-up can become intense and overwhelming.
Hence, I have subconsciously resorted to my old habit of not feeling. However, it’s not that I can’t feel the how — I am choosing, intentionally, to shunt it aside.
This is to prevent the overwhelm. But it’s also why I can’t answer the question clearly.
Or rather, I couldn’t. Now that I have identified the issue, I can see why the how has been eluding me.
What’s more, I can see that it’s not a bad thing like my old way of being was. I’m not avoiding these feelings — I’m just striving to give them less focus and attention. This is how I maintain my optimism and my sanity in the face of uncertainty, pessimism, and fear.
I use my intent to remain mindful — but rebalance what the means to avoid overwhelm.
Rather than unintentionally lose touch with my feelings, I have altered how I approach them. This has allowed me to rebalance my mindset/headspace/psyche to not be overwhelmed.
While it’s good to strike a balance between thought, feeling, action, and intent to manifest anything — I can see that the balance can be altered. It may prove a necessary intent and action to prevent being crushed by the things you cannot control.
The balance between aware and inundated is variable. Some people can accept little to no information — while others need as much as they can get. But when it is too much it can overwhelm you and overcome your needs.
When you are deluged by negativity it is much harder to practice self-care. If you don’t take care of yourself you have little to nothing to give anyone else.
I can’t help the world when I can’t help myself. Since that is of tremendous importance to me and all that I do — recognizing this is cathartic.
I am unclear about the how of what I’m feeling because I need to alter the balance of my mindfulness practice. Working with rebalancing mindfulness of thought, feeling, and action is the best way to not go made in the face of a crazy, uncertain, fearful world.
Now that I know I can work with this.
How are you getting along amid the mad world today?
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, and similar life lessons.
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